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IBM updates desktop mainframe emulator

For just $5,500 and the cost of a quad-core x86 box, z/OS 16 for test and dev on the desktop can be yours

IBM has updated its mainframe emulators to bring them into line with its recently released Z16 machines and operating system.

Big Blue's emulators are called the "IBM Z Development and Test Environment", of which version 14.0.0 debuted yesterday.

The software runs on x86 servers or desktops. IBM hasn't updated its hardware requirements page with details for the version 14.0.0 release, but version 13.0 required a 64-bit x86 server with at least four cores, 100GB of space disk space, and between 2GB and 4GB of memory for each. You can get away with an Intel Core 2 Duo at 2GHz, or a first-Gen Core i3.

IBM recommends one core be dedicated the Linux OS that must be present to run the emulator, then another core dedicated to Linux for every three emulated z/OS cores.

As its name implies, the software is designed for test and development workloads. IBM also allows employee education or demonstration of applications that run on z/OS.

Sadly, IBM has limited its functionality, and offers the following warning about what is not possible with the tool:

It cannot be used for code refactoring or re-engineering with the intention to re-platform existing z/OS based applications, neither used for production workloads of any kind … or performance testing. The load module or object code compiled on IBM Z Development and Test Environment cannot be promoted to production.

Sorry, dear reader, if that quashed your dreams of a fully featured desktop mainframe.

If you still fancy taking Big Blue's biggest baddest boxen for a spin, IBM recently spun up a cloudy z/OS test and dev environment designed for real work.

Or if you can tolerate the desktop edition, IBM charges $5,540 for a license that lasts a year. At the time of writing, Big Blue's e-commerce site also mentions a perpetual license sold at $975 – but when The Register pretended to buy it the price suddenly rose to $11,700. ®

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